tv BBC World News WHUT July 20, 2012 7:00am-7:30am EDT
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welcome. also in the program, from damascus to the borders, syria's military attempts to push back a concerted rebel advance. a $2 million headache for china's ai weiwei as the court upholds its tax evasion punishment. it's midday here in london, 7:00 in the evening in beijing and 5:00 in the morning in denver, colorado where police say 14 people have been killed in a mass shooting at a suburban cinema. witnesses in aurora said a man wearing a gas mask released a gas cannister inside the senn ma and started shooting as smoke filled the auditorium. according to the police, one suspect has been detained. hospitals are treating dozens of wounded. we now can bring you some tape
that we just got a little bit earlier. that is an eyewitness in the cinema watching the film as the gunman began to shoot. >> i can tell you it was very chaotic. it was a nice movie, it started out as a nice movie. when the gunman came in the exit and he threw a cannister, it was a smoke device. he threw it and approximately three-seconds later he started shooting up the place with a semi automatic weapon. everybody thought it was part of the movie at first, but it became very real when he started shooting. i would at least say maybe 19 to 20 rounds and we were right there in the fifth row from the shooter. people were scrambling left and right. my children got out first, me and my wife, we were in our row. we got down on our hands and knees. i was still kind of like looking for the gunman to see if he was
approaching to exits to shoot at other people. the people in the higher seating in the stadium seats, they were sitting ducks. we proceeded to get out of there as quickly as possible. somebody behind us, maybe a straggler was hit. he heard him say i'm hit, my wife had fallen to the ground partially trampled. i got her up and out of there and we took off. we stopped for a minute and then they said maybe the gunman is coming out where you get your popcorn and everything, and that was it. i had to protect my family. my heart goes out to the victims, but it was a really bad scene. >> we can join our correspondent in los angeles. alster, in the last few hours, so much chaotic information coming in from denver, colorado. tell us the latest information you have. >> well, from the reports, from
the eyewitness, the police are saying they do have a 24-year-old white male in custody. police station was just a couple of blocks away from the cinema. when the call came in local time around 1:00 in the morning, they found a man outside the back of the cinema by car and arrested him. apparently he didn't resist arrest. we saw shots of the police then searching his vehicle, using a robot in case there were explosives, and currently we're hearing his apartment has been sealed off. again, with what appears to be a robot in case there are explosives. he came into the cinema wearing a gas mask and bulletproof vest. there was a hising sound, some sort of gas. we've been hearing from some of the hospitals in the last few minutes that people are being
treated for tear gas injuries essentially. he then opened fire, of course panic, people fled. 10 people thought to have died at the cinema, and then a further four later died in the hospital. the ages of those people who have been killed are between 6 and 31. that's related to people taken to a children's hospital. still confusing to know how many people and where abouts they are. the estimates are 50 injured all together. some of them of course are a result of the tear gas. others perhaps injured and shot. >> terrible figures there, alstir. is there any indication that some of those people are very gravely injured. i'm just wondering if it is indeed possible if this death toll could rise further. >> yes, it is of course possible. it was about four hours ago this happened. we haven't heard any details yet. a lot of the media are staying away from the hospital, keeping distance because people are arriving not knowing whether
their relatives have been killed or injured. people have been trying to find those they were split up from when the shooting started. everyone raced out of the cinema. so, some pretty awful descriptions from some of the police and some of the eyewitnesses. four children being brought out, one a girl who looked like she had been shot in the back. this is a huge opening night, one of the biggest opening nights that has happened in the u.s. a lot of people packed into the cinema for this first showing. so the after midnight showing, so a huge number of families and children in attendant at the cinema. the century 16 movie theater in aurora, quite close to downtown denver. but the third largest city in its own right. >> thank you very much for the latest from los angeles. and i can actually bring you breaking news. that is a statement has been released from the white house just in the last few moments.
of course it begins with president obama saying that michelle and i are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in colorado. federal and law enforcement officials still responding. the administration will do everything that we can to support the people off aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. so that's the opening there of the presidential statement. just released by the white house. and of course, we will keep following this story and bring you all the developments as they come in. but now, we will turn to syria. in the capitol, damascus, street battles sparked by wednesday's book bomb attack on security chiefs are continuing. last night, they seized control of syria's key border crossings with iraq. our middle east correspondent jim muir is monitoring the latest developments from brute.
>> activists say these are the first pictures of the national security picture in damascus where the bomb went on wednesday killing three top security officials including the defense minister. it was claimed by the damascus clan of the free syrian army. >> [speaking foreign language] >> the free syrian army has promised more surprises. its commander based in turkey had a special message to mark the start of ramadan. all the officers and members of the free syrian army congratulate the people on the onset of the blessed month of ramadan in the hope that this month would usher certain victory.
>> but the regime is already claiming victory itself. at least here, one of the parts of southern damascus where the fighting has been heaviest. >> we have cleansed the area and we are now in full control. some residents were forced to flee. ransacked shops as well as public and private buildings. >> state television said at least 20 mercenary terrorists were killed, their bodies carefully laid out for the camera. it's said some of them were foreign arab nationals. battling for state survival, television is constantly running propaganda film showing the army as the protector of the people. but the regime's grasp has clearly slipped at border posts along the iraqi frontier where
rebels took over. they also claimed control of the nearby town. we've liberated the town and stormed the headquarters, he said. your turn is next. as the battle for damascus and syria raged on, many thousands of syrians fled the country into lebanon, an ironic reversal of fate as many lebanese sheltered in syria here. >> so that's jim muir's latest, but joining us from damascus on the telephone is man associated with the rebel leadership command inside the rebel movement inside syria. if you can hear me tell me what is happening on the streets around you in damascus right now. >> today, as usual, every friday people go on peaceful demonstrations. in some parts of damascus of
course. not all parts of them have been under bombardments. as usual, they were faced with gunfire. where i am now, i heard some gunfire from the east end from the west in the neighboring area. the fights continue in some parts of damascus. the bombardment has just continued in the south part of the city, and some clashes are going on in the eastern part of the city. in the morning we also heard some shelling by tanks. >> yes, we have seen on state television in damascus a claim that mydan, one very important city has been retaken by the military. the tanks have moved in and as they put it, the terrorists have been crushed. do you believe that the syrian military now is going to apply such a lot of force to this situation? that the rebel fighters in damascus are going to be under
enormous pressure. >> you're right, they're under enormous pressure, and we've heard since the morning, practically withdrawn from there. it's obvious that the free syrian army are planning to something new, but of course because of the enormous pressure put upon them on that area, that big area, and the important area for the regime and rebel as you said, they've withdrawn from the region. but, it doesn't show that the regime is gaining control over the city. what it is doing now to show that it is still strong, it shows more weakness of it. >> we have to leave it there, but thank you very much for joining us from damascus, and of course that is another story we will keep you updated here on "bbc world news." security surrounding the olympic
torch relay has been forced to tackle a man who launched himself at a runner, taking the flame from the town of madestone to rosehill. security took seconds to grab the man and push him to the ground. the torch is due to arrive in london later on friday where a royal marine will repel with it from a helicopter down to the tower of london. and let's cross live now to tower bridge and speak to the bbc's jane hill. jane, i know that you have a sense of anticipation because you are actually where the action is going to unfold a little bit later on. tell me what's going to happen? >> in a few hours from now, steven, yes it is very exciting. we're better perhaps for the olympic flame to spend its first night in the host city than here at the tower of london. part of this dating back to william the conquer of course. as you say, on friday evening
the flame will arrive in a helicopter across tower bridge where you see those wonderful olympic symbols hanging there as they have been for the last few weeks. it's a very exciting day and truly beginning of the torch relay throughout the capitol, throughout the host city. let's talk to two men keenly involved in everything that we are witnessing here. steve sullivan is with me, who's the deputy chief of the crown jewels no less. and colin stanford from the london chamber of commerce. welcome to "bbc news." how fitting that the olympic flame will be kept very safe, just as you keep the crown jewels safe every night. >> absolutely right, jane. it's a huge honor and privilege for us to be involved in keeping the flame. and what a safe place for us to keep overnight. we've been looking after the crown jewels since 1303, a good record of safety. the flame will be perfectly safe here. i think there's a quite nice link between the torch and the tower and the games.
the tower has been full of romance and drama and the olympics have been too. we're very excited, almost a tingle in the air about everything arriving. but this is the safest place for them to be. a forfress never successfully invaded. a community of people living around here for the protection of the jewels and the flame will be a part of that tonight. >> of course, there have been many key moments in this olympic journey so far, but the arrival of the flame in the host city, that is a great moment of possibility and opportunity for businesses. but some challenges too, i think. >> well, the start of what we hope will be a tremendous boost to the capitol. there were lots of people when we got the games saying does london really need it? we've had the worst recession anyone can remember, so boy do we need the olympic games. you're talking about the buzz, i think you can feel it in the city even before the torch has arrived. as the torch has gone around the country, i think the because that's been created by that torch, the symbol of the starting of the games have
surprised most people. i think when it comes to london you will see an outpouring of enthusiasm for the games like nowhere else. >> a very quick thought about legacy in terms of what can we learn from previous host cities about what this can do for industry, for tour rism. >> the one thing we've got to learn is make sure that in the years, i mean years, not just the months aft games, but the years after the games, we start to mind the good will and publicity that will have been generated. we're planning at the london chamber of commerce, lots of commissions to use the expertise, especially small firms have gained in the olympics. we need to make sure we've done what australia did and make sure we get the message out, that we can do great games and sporting events and you can hire parish companies to do it. >> a very exciting day, thank you very much for being with us on this exciting day. a few more hours to go, and full coverage as you would expect on "bbc news" as the olympic flames
arrive here at the tower of london, with one week to go to the launch of london 2012. back to you, steeveb. >> great stuff, jane. thank you very much for joining us. still to come on the program, the olympics best forgotten maybe. we look back at the disastrous st. louis games of 1904. wildfires have been burning across southern europe. londons have had to fly their homes as flames fanned by strong winds have engulfed houses. investigations underway as to how the fire started. >> dousing the flames as the fire spreads. >> please help us, houses are burning. help us. >> 50 kilometer southeast of athens and the latest greek wildfires and gulf homes here. dozens of firefighters and
several aircraft have been called in, but some locals have resorted to using garden hoses to protect their property. fanned by strong winds, the flames spread quickly forcing many to flee their homes. >> i was telling my child to wake me up. i thought it was a nightmare. >> it's not yet known what caused the blaze. on the canary eye lands, fires have burned for the last five days. locals are accusing them of not reacting as quick as three weeks ago. >> we have felt very abandoned. when there were fires in valencia, tons of firefighters were sent in and we've just had three. >> portugal too is also suffering. more than 80 firefighters raced
to the island where over a hundred people were evacuated from a resort town with forest fires damaging 25 homes. and the danger is not over yet. the soaring summer temperatures and drought like conditions, it seems like these could be repeated in the next few weeks. >> this is g.m.t. from "bbc world news." the headlines, 14 people have been killed, at least 50 wounded after a gunman opened fire at a "batman" film screening in denver. days of fighting continue in damascus after rebels seize key border crossings with iraq and turkey. and time for business. jamie has joined me. let's start in spain.
i know there are very important talks in organizing bailout for spanish banks. >> we haven't heard anything, basically saying how much spain is going to have to pay. probably about $30 billion. it was a hundred billion euros available, but probably 30 billion put forward which will be available in july for the banking sector in spain. now this should cure a lot of the problems in the spanish banking system. it should help recapitalize the banks over the coming year. as they start to draw down on this money and these guarantees. they're going to be audits put into the banking system, more stress test to find out which banks need them. and as i say, this should sort of sort it out. the european union has approved it. finland, germany they've approved it. all those things seem to have come together. but even as we speak, spanish yields are going up.
why is this happening? why is it becoming more difficult for spain to borrow more money? well, there are a lot more problems. what we're worried about is spain is going to become what is known as a high yield country. i.e., its bonds, its borrowing will hit junk status or very close to it. this is what one person had to say about it. >> given what's been done so far, and we know the bank may not have been approved by germany and finland, spain will go through deteriorating project toir. we expect them to be down graded to high yield, so spain will go from triple to minus to high yield. and we think it will need a bailout at the sovereign level from a european country. >> from banking crisis to potential food price crisis, prices are beginning to rise because of drought in the united states. >> one of the worst drauts since 1956 at the moment in the u.s.
and the problem is, social instability which can follow as a result. and look at spain, 25% of people unemployed. a terrible recipe for the continuing, if you have higher food prices. the only good thing about it is possibly the fact that other commodity prices are still staying fairly low. so some of the other cost input into food aren't taking effect. however, one person was saying that the possibility of actually these higher food prices promoting routs is a very real one. >> it hasn't quite reached the levels into double digits, 13 dollars a bushle yet. but they're at all time highs, and it will be, i think tragic if we start saying those rise again. but that remainls a very real risk at this point. >> now 2007 the last time we saw
where there were food droughts because of that. >> indeed there were. >> of -- a court in beijing has rejected a plea by dissent art aase ai weiwei fined for alleged tax evasion. he says police prevented him from attending the court today and has described the tax case as a government campaign of intimidation. our beijing correspondent reports. >> he is china's most famous living artist, and one of the most outspoken critics of the rule of the communist party. so his treatment has become a litmus test with the way it deals with. today, ai weiwei said law and justice don't exist in china. he hugged his lawyer and waved good-bye to his wife as they headed to court. china's police barred ai weiwei from going, free vented from hearing the verdict in his own case. he said it's an attempt by china's communist party to silence him. >> i think in recent years the main effort china has made to
maintain stability has been to try to eliminate any person who wants to speak the truth. if someone wants to give his own opinion about what's really going on in this country, he's already committing a crime. >> outside the hearing, many more police. his lawyer told the court the police's actions today were illegal, along with the entire $2 million tax claim. the judges dismissed mr. ai weiwei's appeal. he heard the result from his wife and said he wasn't surprised. >> today's verdict shows that this country, even today, 60 years after it was founded still doesn't even have a basic legal process. it still doesn't respect truth, it still will never get taxpayers and citizens an opportunity to defend itself. the entire jewish is sloweded in darkness. >> they force moved to silence ai weiwei last year.
they saw regimes being toppled by popular protest and were rounding up critics at home. if anything, they seem even more nervous. even less tolerance of dissent. >> and now to our olympic post guard series. we're going to take you back to 1904 and the st. louis olympics. it wasn't the easiest of olympics. many of the top athletes stayed away, and to many people it was a bit of a file yaur. but we have this reflection now from david miller, a games historian. >> 1904, initially was going to be in chicago, then the americans messed around, finished up and awarded it to st. louis. but as in paris, it was a lied to a trade fair. 80% or more of the competitors